How do I help my friend who is dying from alcohol addiction? For years—his family, our friends, his wife—we all tried to tell him that he was spiraling downward. He used up all of his sick days and vacation time but then he still kept calling his job to tell them that he wasn’t coming in. Then he lost his job. His wife became the sole breadwinner as he withdrew more and more into drinking.
Finally, we could not watch it anymore. We got together, planned an intervention and got him to realize that he needed help with his addiction. His kids only recognized him as a mass in the master bedroom, hollering for another beer or a shot of vodka. His wife was on the verge of leaving him. We had a counselor there and between all of us, we convinced him that he needed help.
He had to go through detoxification and he had a physical on that first day. Then we got the bad news: he had liver failure, his kidneys were shot and there was nerve damage. Further testing revealed that he was dying.
How do I help my friend who is dying from alcohol? I talk to him every day, I take him to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings so that he can share his story with others in the hopes that they get a wake-up call sooner than he did. I give his wife a break from the house every now and then.
He called me the other night. He cried like a little child about all that he had given up—the privilege of someday walking his daughter down the aisle and the pride of seeing his son graduate from the university that the young lad has dreamed of attending for nearly five years. The only way I could help him was to listen, to be there, to offer solace. He was right. He had done this to himself and to his family. Still, he was my best friend and I wished with all my heart that things were different.
How do I help him now? I went with him to plan his funeral. I promised to give his daughter away when the time came. I promised to be a father figure to his son and look after him while he was in college. As I held my dying friend’s hand in the hospital for the last time three nights ago, I promised to look after his wife and children.
How did I help my friend who was dying from alcohol addiction? By giving him the reassurance he needed and telling him that his family would be looked after, by promising to be there for them. I could not find a miracle cure for him, but I could help him leave this world feeling that someone would be there for his wife and children. It was the only thing that I could do, a final promise to a friend.
I wish I would have convinced him go to alcohol addiction treatment earlier on. Please, if you have a friend who is starting on the funest road of alcohol addiction it is time to help him now before alcohol kills him.